A forum for like-minds of young people whose main aim is to provide a single voice that is unbiased, ethical and unpartisan has come on stream.
The Youth Entrepreneur and Leadership Integrity Forum (YELIF) initiative is intended to institute a platform where like-minded people, especially young minds can speak objectively for the common man.
Speaking in Lagos recently, South-west regional spokesperson for YELIF, Mr. Segun Bakare, who said that the opinions in Nigeria have been in two extremes – either for or against, noted, “we want development and also a situation whereby achievements are acknowledged while areas that need improvement would be identified and presented to government. We want to explore all avenues to ensure that the voice of the youths are heard and we want to implore government that as much as it acknowledges the activities of the youth force, it should also acknowledge those of us that want to do intellectual intervention into the problems of Nigeria. This is basically all about intellectual intervention; in other words, we are going to identify areas of problems that exist in the country and proffer solutions.”
Bakare explained that the organisation was set up for the promotion of entrepreneurship, good governance, patriotism, transparency, accountability and unity among Nigerian youths and Nigerian populace at large.
Initiated by veteran actor and filmmaker, Tarila Thompson, the far-reaching effects of YELIF, he said is hinged on a collective membership of like minds, noting that membership at the moment is made of students, artisans and people from all works of life.
Explaining what gave birth to YELIF, Thompson said, “The problems we have in the nation from my own perception are extreme cases of partisan criticism. When you criticise subjectively, you don’t get the best out of the system and the far-reaching consequences on us become so enormous. The so-called politicians are like harbingers, they attack you, get what they want and at the end of the day nothing gets to the common man. So we are looking for an unbiased forum where like-minds can speak objectively for the common man,” he said.
To herald its presence very strongly, the YELIF during the Nigerian’s 52nd independent anniversary shot a documentary on AIT, which showcased a scorecard of the present government led by President Goodluck Jonathan titled, “Nigeria Yesterday and Today in the Commemoration of the Nation’s 52nd Independence Anniversary”.
“We needed to start from where people will really identify with us. We don’t just want to hold forums and then tomorrow everything dies down. We decided to go into this project to make a point that we are very independent and that we want to be so that nobody can hijack us,” Thompson said.
The filmmaker revealed that the project on the 52nd Independent anniversary is very expensive, adding, “we had to tour the whole nation on our own to get the facts; we did not go through the quarters of governance to facilitate us with sentimentality and so we came out with this very straight and unbiased documentary. The bottom-line of it all is that we want to point out that all the levels of reactions from the oppositions are total condemnation of everything that is in the country. But we are saying that if this country is such a colossal failure, how come some of us still exist in the manner and way we chose to live to the comfort of our own. The truth is that it is not everybody that is complaining that bitterly and the adage goes that if you pat a man in the back, he would be encouraged to do more. We also made government to understand the things it should do but which it is not doing.”
Expatiating on YELIF and its activities, the initiator said the forum believes in self-empowerment. “We all have the capacity to drive our course without depending on anybody and that includes the government. We want to be the propeller of our own destiny and so we thought the documentary on Nigeria should be the best way to start. There are so many things going wrong in the system that we feel could be addressed without the formal pestiferous nature that most people are used to. Like the criticism of most of politicians, for example, is predominately subjective rather than being objective and the reason for this is not far-fetched but we want to shift away from that system. We want to be able to speak unequivocally for ourselves and hit on the basic needs of man. That was why we decided to seek for a common front to launch our voice.”
Nigerians, he said are so used to the fact that anything that comes from government is basically so criticised and misinterpreted, nothing that government at this point may be a bit intimidated because “no matter what they say, the popular voices from the background seem to be predominant. So, we felt it is wrong and that it is good to pat somebody in the back if he does well so that he can be encouraged to do more. So we deiced on our own spontaneously to resource funds and put together a documentary based on a nationwide tour on projects flogged around by various quarters and also to see the impact they have made on the national polity and economy.